ChevyGuy’s World Series Presentation Worth $2.4 MillionEben Novy-Williams and Keith Naughton
ChevyGuy and MadBum are the big winners of the World Series.
A Chevrolet regional manager became a social media sensation last night when his bumbling presentation of a truck to World Series Most Valuable Player Madison Bumgarner devolved into what one sports marketing expert called a Saturday Night Live skit.
“While the delivery wasn’t intentional, the awkwardness will create conversation,” said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. “That’s sometimes all the people are seeking these days. For a moment that has become a predictable part of a championship celebration, it’s going to remain memorable. If that’s not on Saturday Night Live it’s a missed opportunity.”
Chevrolet, the official vehicle of Major League Baseball, has received at least $3.8 million in media exposure from Rikk Wilde’s unconventional presentation, according to sponsorship evaluation firm Front Row Analytics. That number, which will increase after coverage tonight on news and late-night shows, is almost 10 times what it would have brought in with a more polished performance, the firm said.
As baseball Commissioner Bud Selig stood nearby, scratching his head, Wilde struggled through the one-minute presentation, repeatedly glancing at notes while appearing out of breath. He said the truck, a 2015 Colorado, “combines class-winning and - leading, um, you know, technology and stuff,” before digging into his pocket for the keys, which were handed to the player nicknamed MadBum.
Wilde became “#ChevyGuy” on social media, where the hashtag was trending on Twitter. Chevrolet, a General Motors Co. division, embraced the opportunity, using #technologyandstuff in its own Twitter post, and posting the hashtag on the truck’s website.
“You have a live TV moment like that and then you have the opportunity to either build on it or defend yourself,” Mike Albano, a GM spokesman, said in an interview. “There’s no shutting it off. Because of the advent of social media, it is a conversation directly with our customer. And you can hide from it or you can embrace it and tell your story and that’s what we choose to do.”
Wilde, who is based in Kansas City, was unavailable to comment, according to Chevrolet spokeswoman Cristi Vazquez.
“The MVP presentation award speech may not have gone the way Chevrolet corporate had envisioned, but the speech and the viral content brought massive amounts of brand exposure to Chevrolet never seen before by any other major sports MVP award presentation,” said Eric Smallwood, senior vice president at Philadelphia-based Front Row, a division of Comcast Corp.’s Front Row Marketing Services.
It is welcome attention for the truck. Sales were halted this month to fix an electrical flaw that caused airbags to misfire. It was fixed and sales have resumed.
The automaker should use ChevyGuy and MadBum in its future advertising, Swangard said.
“We want to see the next chapter of this relationship,” he said.
GM plans to do just that, Albano said. Web traffic for the truck is up 70 percent today.
“While people are paying attention, we have an opportunity to share the attributes of the truck and we’re planning on using this to do that,” Albano said, without elaborating.
Wilde is “shell shocked” by all the attention, Albano said. A lifelong Royals fan, Wilde’s nervousness was because he was “still a little emotional over the outcome of a tremendous seven-game series,” GM said in a statement.
This morning before 9 a.m., Wilde received a call from his boss, Brian Sweeney, vice president of Chevrolet, to assure him he still has a job and that headquarters is not upset with his awkward performance.
As for the truck itself, its next chapter might involve the pitcher’s father. Kevin Bumgarner told the New York Times his son has enough trucks.
“I got hopes he might give that one to me,” he said.